Monday, October 16, 2006

Saxton: Not a Small Business Leader

Ron Saxton has run much of his campaign claiming to be a small businessman, someone who knows the issues of that community and will be a strong advocate for them. His support for this? The cherry farm (or vineyard), that he owned in the 1990s.

Saxton's website makes frequent reference to his ownership of the cherry farm in an effort to play up his small business credentials. Saxton clearly does not want anyone putting his web content into blog postings, so I will kindly oblige him here by not linking to his site either. The beginning of Saxton's "Economic Development" plank under "issues" makes immediate mention of the cherry farm. It is also mentioned as a biographical highlight in his "about ron" section. Clearly Saxton wants us to believe that because he owned a cherry farm he knows small business. So how does that mesh with his response to the Saxtonville matter?
"I was not involved in any arrangements with the labor," Saxton said Wednesday. He said one of the partners handled the paperwork. He said they took pains to make sure their employment practices complied with the law, including withholding taxes from paychecks.

He portrayed a picture of himself as a hands-off partner, although in his campaign literature he frequently refers to his ownership of the farm.
"It's our policy not to hire undocumented people," said Jose Perfecto of Salem, who handled the labor force for Oak Grove Farms during the 1990s. "Is it possible? Anything is possible."

Saxton said he has no memory of a contractor hiring the labor and said he never has heard of or met Perfecto. Likewise, Perfecto said he never had met Saxton and was unaware the candidate had been an owner of the farm.

Which is it Saxton? Are you a leader in the small business community as evidenced by your ownership of a cherry farm? Or did you hire illegal immigrants? These two don't match, and if Saxton wants to say he had nothing to do with it he shouldn't go arround bragging about how he owned a cherry farm.

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